When to go

A Full Year Abroad

Most Wellesley students study abroad during the Junior year. Occasionally, a second semester sophomore or first semester senior will study abroad, but, in most cases, the junior year makes the most sense because students will have had the opportunity to declare a major and start taking courses in the major field but will not be at the point where they are taking the 300-level seminar courses. Whether to spend a full year or single semester abroad is a personal decision.

While is it increasingly more common for students to opt for a single semester abroad, students who can plan for a full year abroad have the most meaningful and successful experiences. Spending a full year abroad gives students the opportunity to:

  • significantly improve foreign language skills
  • take part in community and university activities
  • master the different academic system
  • make local friends and connections
  • live independently for an extended period of time
  • travel AND explore your local community

A Single Semester Abroad

If you are not able to work a full year into your schedule, a semester abroad can be valuable as well, and is preferable to a summer or wintersession away. If your preferred program or host university offers fall, spring and full year options, you are encouraged to apply for the fall semester.

Reasons to Study Abroad in the FALL

  • More time to prepare for the semester away. (Summer's great for doing the recommended reading, applying for visas and making trip preparations.)
  • If you are enrolling in a local university, you'll be arriving at the same time as your classmates and new degree students. It will be easier to make new friends and to join in student organizations.
  • Programs tend to be smaller in the fall, allowing for more personal attention from instructors and administrators.
  • Fall programs tend to be less competitive so admission to your first choice program is more likely -- and, if you don't get in, you can reapply for spring.
  • Recruiting for summer internships tends to take place on campus during the spring semester, and, while it is possible to interview from abroad, the process is less stressful if you are on site.
  • It may be important to be on campus in the spring to run for elected office in student organizations or to apply for on-campus positions for the fall.
  • London and Oxford direct enroll programs are full year or fall only programs

Still Undecided?

If you are unsure, start the process as if you were going for a year. Plan for that. It's easier to shorten your stay abroad than it is to extend. In almost all programs, you can make changes without penalty until early October.